Welcome to family, friends and visitors. Here you will find interesting (hopefully) pictures of my part of the world, news of our household and probably, long ramblings about anything that catches my interest.

Sunday 31 May 2015

Admin Day.

Very windy and a bit cooler today.  I could have worked outside but instead after I had done my school planning for tomorrow I backed up every last photo file on my pc. It's a tedious process because if I try and copy a group of files it grinds to a halt part-way. So it's one slow file at a time. At the same time I got on with some tidying up around my desk and in the kitchen. The pile of stuff to be got rid of is satisfyingly large especially as Peter cleared out old books and manuals from his study that are no use anymore.
This tub outside, which I use when I'm picking up slugs and snails, was empty on Thursday. I got out a ruler and that's 6" of rain we've had in the last 2 days! 
 Some things were early this year but the May blossom has been a bit late.

Saturday 30 May 2015

New Nest.

Another dry day so yet more gardening. My morning was spent up at the scree garden clearing away the osteospermum  which suffered badly last winter. 3 out of the 4 plants have almost completetly died back. About half of the large sage plant has also died but I have a horrible feeling that may be disease rather than the cold.
After a very peaceful break in the warm sun, book and coffee to hand as always, it was time to get out the mower and cut all the grass. The garden is looking tidy once more though as I mowed I spotted a few places that need some weeding. Maybe tomorrow. 
I've discovered why the thrush was so aggressive to those poor sparrows. She has built a nest in the climbing roses and wisteria under Peter's study window. Her head can just be seen in the top l-hand quadrant of the above photo. She can be seen keeping an eye on me in the centre of the photo below. The sparrows are back in their nest by our window, presumably sitting on another clutch of eggs. With the swallows up in the outbuildings and jackdaws in the loft this place is becoming a regular avian nursery.
Peter has gone off to row, for the first time in a very long time. He saw the sports physio yesterday who said it would be okay but I wonder how many aches and pains I'll be told about tomorrow.  

Friday 29 May 2015


More fun and games when I went to the dentist this morning. For some reason they asked the earlier dentist, the one who I refused to have treat me again after he hurt me, to talk to me perhaps because he had initiated the treatment. He took me up to his treatment room, started telling me about the treatment (which I already knew) and then started asking what I wanted to do next. I told him I was seeing Sirri who had already taken out my tooth and I was there to have my stitches out. Even when I said I had been told Sirri would be taking them out he just said that's okay he would do it. Thinking that Sirri was dealing with some sort of emergency and that it was only the stitches I let him take them out. In the meantime Sirri was looking for me in the waiting room! The practice manager appeared then and I told her I had been put in an awkward position as I hadn't wanted to be totally rude and walk out of the room but I needed to talk to Sirri about the next steps. Anyway Sirri checked and I don't have any infection, there was just a little food trapped where I hadn't been able to brush over the stitches. I told her that I'm so fed up with all the delays that I've decided that the other tooth will have to go. No hanging on for months and months hoping for a referral for the re-root canal filling then waiting 6 months for it to settle etc. She actually had a cancellation and offered me an appointment next Tuesday morning but I don't want to take a chance of being late for work and teaching straight after an extraction wasn't the best idea. Instead I have an appointment in 4 weeks time.
Despite the sunshine in the photos the morning was wet. Not a fine drizzle but torrential rain. Windscreen wipers on double speed and water across the road rain. That changed my plans and instead of returning home to fill the car with stuff for the dump I put petrol in the car, went to Tesco's and went straight on to the garden centre to meet up with my friends. There were 6 of us today enjoying a good chat, coffee and cake. By the time we had finished the rain had stopped, at times it was even hot. I decided to spend an hour in town as I had my library books and a bag of stuff for the charity shop with me. Once I got home I could have done some gardening but I had a bit of a headache and decided to have the rest of the day off. 

Thursday 28 May 2015

Gardening Day.

How do you know that a permanent marker isn't actually permanent? When you look at the labels by your buddlia cuttings and see blank spaces where the colour of each buddlia had been carefully written. 
The day started threatening rain but I took a chance and by the time the washing machine had finished it was a sunny, windy day perfect for hanging out the bedding. Later in the afternoon a dark grey cloud had me running to bring the washing in and hang it over the rayburn. And then it didn't rain. It was too good a day to be indoors so I dug up docks, pulled nettles and cut back branches in the old hens' run. I really should have got on with clearing that before everything grew so tall but it wasn't a priority.
I had my inventor's hat on today as I tried to work out a way of bringing the garden table down from the shed. Previously I have brought it down and back up, by turning it on its side and rolling it like a wheel but the gravel drive marked the edge of the table. I didn't want to drag or 'walk' it down as this would probably damage the joints so out popped idea no 1. Cut up some old bike tyres and push them on to the edge of the table top to protect it as I roll it along. Who knew that bike tyres have metal running around the inside rims? Much sawing with a hacksaw and the tyres were cut open. The metal was still pulling the tyres into too small a circle so I cut through the metal 4 or 5 times to break the curve. But unfortunately the tyres wouldn't stay on. Then came idea no 2. I had a long piece of hardboard which I placed under the table legs so that I could drag the whole thing along like a sledge. Hard work but do-able and that's how the table arrived down in the front yard. 
After a bit of a break I was back weeding in the scree garden. I've got nearly all the weeds out but there is still more tidying up to do. At the same time I rescued some seedlings of a blue grass that I just love and planted them in my propagating garden.  I was going to make some flapjacks for Peter but discovered that we have hardly any sugar so that will have to wait until tomorrow.

Wednesday 27 May 2015

A Walk Around Morte Point.

It felt like a typical British summer's day today. Bright and sunny with a breeze that was quite chilly at times. Too good a day to stay at home so off to Morte Point we went.  
As it's the school half-term holiday there were a fair number of people about. (Peter finds stopping and starting not good for his arthritis so I end up with a lot of photos of his back.) The tide was in so there were no seals to be seen, only a lone shag (a type of cormorant) diving to the depths in search of fish. 
Spot the ewe and lamb on the rocks. Most of the sheep have been taken off the Point, possibly for shearing and/or for the main gates to be left open for the tractor rides. Not our sort of thing but great for anyone who has difficulty walking. 
Once home I was determined to make the most of the good weather (rain has now set in), and spent the afternoon gardening. More weeding plus some work in the vegetable garden which has now been turned over to propagating my favourite plants to take with me when I finally  have to leave my lovely garden. For once I used weedkiller on the plants growing on the concrete under my washing lines and then because I had rubber gloves on I pulled up a lot of stinging nettles. Easy enough to do as they are about 3ft high. My last job was to plant the white trailing lobelia that I had grown from seed in the hanging baskets. And of course I found time to sit in a sheltered spot, cat on my lap, coffee to hand and a book to read.
The result of my self tanning was mostly fine -ish, need to spray a bit more evenly and perhaps not in a stiff breeze next time. Good thing it comes off fairly easily. 

Tuesday 26 May 2015

Afternoon Sun.

The day started off quite grey and gloomy but the sunny spells got longer as the day went on and now it's nothing but blue sky. 
I had a long weeding session around the garden ending up by the scree garden which needs a lot of work. I eventually gave up due to an aching back. Before I settled down to read I had  a trial go at spray tanning my legs. Although I live in shorts at home my legs are always very slow to catch the sun. That normally doesn't worry me but I don't want them so pale when I wear my dresses at Rachel's wedding in 11 days. I did it properly exfoliating, shaving and moisturising first and then spraying, hopefully evenly. (With my fair hair I never normally have to shave my legs.) I'm hoping just to match the tan on my arms, not the orange shade some wannabe celebs seem to like but the spray darkens after a while so I don't know how successful I've been yet.
The jaw ache is finally settling down but today I noticed my breath wasn't too good. Then I started wondering about the stitches. I was told the dentist would take them out at the next appointment, which is not for another 6 weeks. A quick check on the web told me that the stitches should come out 7-10 days later not 7 weeks! I rang the dentist to make some inquiries and was told that the first time my dentist could see me was next Monday afternoon - when I'm at work so no good. After a bit of insisting on my part they rang back and offered me 8.45 this Friday which will have to do. 

Monday 25 May 2015

Nosy Neighbours.

I had some visitors this morning, peering in at the window by my pc. Normally they won't let you get close to them but here I was standing only a few feet inside the window. 
Nice as it is to see the local wildlife, 9 geese leave a lot of poop around the place so I went outside and encouraged them to leave the garden. 
I thought today would be a good day to have my first try at baking red velvet cakes. After I dropped Peter off at the local beer festival to do his yearly stint as a barman I went to Lidl's and Tesco's to stock up on all the things I needed. At least I thought I had until I got to the very last step of the instructions. There I was with a big bowl of satisfyingly red mixture ready to add bicarbonate of soda and vinegar (as per instructions.) But instead of bicarbonate of soda I only had baking powder so used that instead. Then it was time to bake in my wonderful rayburn. The temperature dropped as soon as I put the cakes in and they ended up taking double the stated time. After collecting Peter who hadn't minded staying on a bit longer at the beer festival I made up some cream cheese frosting just to see what it would be like. I did have a slice of cake to try but the rest is now in the freezer. Next time I'll look for a recipe that doesn't have so much sugar as the cake tasted too sweet for my liking. Also I don't think the cream cheese frosting even as the inside layer would be to everyone's taste. Plenty of time to keep on practicing before the wedding.
I'll have to label which of the iris rhizomes have white flowers as most of the flowers are purple.

Sunday 24 May 2015

An Indoor Day.

Last night's Eurovision song contest was great fun though we do miss Terry Wogan's cutting comments. Peter didn't fall asleep at all, maybe because it wasn't cold enough to light the fire.
They were right about the weather. For most of the day there has been a soft drizzle only clearing up now in the early evening. I'm so glad I did the mowing yesterday. Instead I sat at the pc and did all my planning for next term's RE including assessment sheets. It's a nice topic, looking at how books and stories are used in religions and beliefs. It's a 7 week half term so we have time to look at some Old and New Testament stories as well as stories from Hinduism and Buddhism. As the lessons are about 25 mins we won't be going into great depth but it will be fun to do. I've also made a good start on backing up my photo files onto an external hard drive. I still haven't got into a routine of backing them up maybe once a week so it would be my own fault if my pc dies and I lose precious memories.
 Even a wet morning creates photo opportunities as certain plants get some added sparkle. 

I was taking some scraps up to the compost bin when I heard a commotion in the lake. The 7 goslings were having a splash about in the water. 
Then something frightened them and ...... 
       ....... they swam off to the safety of mum and dad.

Saturday 23 May 2015

Bluebell Woods.

I took this photo of a stag in the woodland next to the house yesterday evening. He was still there dozing in the sun when I woke early this morning (woken by my throbbing jaw). How lucky I felt being able to sit in bed with a cup of tea, enjoying the sunny morning and watching the stag reflected in the wall mirror. I even (and I don't know why I was surprised at this), was able to use my binoculars to watch the stag more closely. Eventually he wandered off but I'm sure I'll see him again. Last night I got so paranoid about the geese making a mess on the paving that I went out just before 10.00 to see if they were there again but they weren't. The crescent moon was out but it was still light enough to read a book comfortably.

As today is supposed to be the best day of the weekend we went for a walk in the Kinevor Valley by Morthoe. The woods were full of bluebells and wild garlic and as we walked we could hear a cuckoo calling.
The valley opens out to to Bennett's Mouth, a rocky beach where we stopped for a cup of coffee. The valley had been deserted but there were quite a few people out on the cliff path.

 Thrift growing on the beach.
As we climbed up the steep path to the top of the cliffs the air was filled with the almost overpowering perfume of the wild Burnet roses covering the hillside. Later we walked between banks of flowering gorse and the hot still air was filled with their coconutty scent.  
The Kinevor Valley - we walked along the stream which runs through the trees from the top centre of the photo out to the left of the photo.
Half-way up the cliff path from Bennett's Mouth. We walked along the cliffs to the lighthouse at Bull Point and then turned inland along the lighthouse road.
When we got home a friend (Steve) we haven't seen for a while turned up for a chat. After he left and Peter went into town I cut all the lawns including most of the fiddly bits so the garden looks nicely tamed. I brought in some old wood so we can enjoy a fire tonight while we watch the Eurovision Song Contest, a family tradition. Peter bought me a bag of pretzels as a not too naughty snack to eat while we enjoy the show. I wonder how long Peter will last before falling asleep?

Friday 22 May 2015

A Quiet day.

I woke up this morning to a misty and much warmer day. I don't know if it is the tooth, a virus or simple tiredness but I feel so weary today and yes my jaw is still pretty sore. Yesterday I was feeling achey which is why I wondered if it could be a virus. At least because I'm on holiday I could have a quiet rest day and apart from my morning routine I have done very little.
I've still got another day of only eating cold soft food which doesn't work well with my diet. My usual breakfast is porridge which is soft but not cold so today I waited until it was almost cold and my lunch of fruit and Ryvita and supper of a salad are cold but definitely not soft. So I've steamed my salad vegetables; tomatoes, red onion and red pepper, until they are soft and when they are cold will add my home made honey and lemon salad dressing and some cottage cheese. With all this care over my food I'm not sure where making a 1-minute coffee mug cake fits in. I just felt like giving it a go. When I saw how much butter - 2oz, and sugar - 50gms were going in it looked like far too much for one portion so I divided it between a mug and my little cup. The result was tasty though the one in the mug overflowed and I think it would be better to do it in large silicone muffin cases perhaps doubling the quantity and making 4 desserts when we have guests.
As I took a gentle ramble around the garden I saw that I wasn't the only one attracted by the scent of the yellow azaleas. A Humming Bird Hawk Moth was busy visiting the open blooms. 

When I walked around the scree garden I wasn't best pleased to see evidence (lots of goose droppings) that the geese had been visiting.  Bees on the other hand are welcome visitors.